I’ve been bullish for several years now on the potential of using open APIs as a new channel to the online business world, in particular using them to scale up new business relationships quickly and cost-effectively.
Internet technology has made this possible for for a decade or more, but it’s taken a while for awareness to grow on both the provider and consumption side about how fundamentally valuable APIs are to modern businesses today. We’re now seeing financial firms (TransUnion, JPMorgan), retail (Best Buy), media (MTV, Warner, Guardian), consumer services (Blockbuster, Netflix), telecom (Orange, Alcatel-Lucent), and many others now use open APIs as part of their business offerings. While APIs are just about to hit the mainstream, as we’ll see, that’s because the necessary infrastructure to make them widespread is just arriving.
In the last year or so we have started to see a genuine industry grow up around open Web APIs, which in their simplest form is Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) that allows any authorized external entity to access a predefined set of business data programmatically over the network.
A Brand New Channel for Economic Advantage
It’s frequently said that most businesses today are literally awash in high value data that they are usually under exploiting. In these often trying economic times, having highly valuable strategic assets lying fallow that could be put to immediate business utility doesn’t make sense. Enter open APIs to provide a way to unleash the business value of strategic sets of business data and directly turn them into rapidly proliferating new product partnerships and innovations.